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Denaturalizing Ecological Politics: Alienation from Nature from Rousseau to the Frankfurt School and Beyond

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2006

Kerry H. Whiteside
Affiliation:
Franklin & Marshall College

Extract

Denaturalizing Ecological Politics: Alienation from Nature from Rousseau to the Frankfurt School and Beyond. By Andrew Biro. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. 270p. $60.00 cloth, $24.95 paper.

Andrew Biro's dense argument for a “denaturalized ecological politics” should have wide appeal. At one level, it should make political theorists generally—whether or not they consider themselves “ecological theorists”—reflect more systematically on how concepts of nature structure the ideas of canonical thinkers. Political ecology is too often treated like a specialty shop in the theory emporium, a boutique that one enters or not according to the inclinations of taste. In fact, its insights recast the central concerns of political theory broadly conceived. Just as feminists have uncovered how gendered concepts are woven throughout the entire fabric of political discourse, so ecological political theorists demonstrate how nature in multiple guises (wildness, savagery, emotional connectedness, fecundity, scarcity, etc.) subtly inflects the meaning of notions of rights, justice, and human well-being. In this regard, Biro's perceptive analyses of Rousseau and Marx—like John Meyer's reading of Aristotle and Hobbes in Political Nature (2001)—add heft to a growing literature that, in the name of environmental concern, wrings new meaning from familiar theorists.

Type
BOOK REVIEWS: POLITICAL THEORY
Copyright
© 2006 American Political Science Association

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